Wednesday, 4 March 2009

.Before the big O.

Mistlethrush, at From the Field Book (see my blog list) put on a post the other day listing the things whe wanted to achieve before she reached fifty. It was an interesting list containing a lot of bird sightings - she is a keen bird-watcher. I asked her if she minded me developing the idea and she was quite happy for me to do so (as she had pinched it from someone else!)- that's the joy of blogging for you.
I don't know why we measure out our lives in decades, but we do. It could just as easily be in coffee spoons as Prufrock did in the TS Eliot poem, but decades it is. So I set to thinking about what I would like to achieve before my next decade is up. And, surprisingly, I could hardly think of anything - I am happy and contented with my life as it is and I do everything I want to do and enjoy doing it. I can't say more than that. But here is my very short list:-
Before my decade is up, I want to:-
Master my computer. My husband used to say that when you develop a new skill either you beat it, or it beats you. He was referring to his two hobbies - painting and playing a musical instrument. He always said that he felt he had mastered painting but that music always had the upper hand. That is exactly how I feel about my computer - sometimes it is like a little malevolent spirit sitting here waiting to push a few gremlins into the works. So definitely I want to become a Computer Whizz Kid.
See a puffin. When I went to the East Coast I had just missed them - they had been gone about a week. When I went to the Mull of Galloway they were expected any day. Reminds me of Dorothy Parker talking about gardens. When anyone visited her garden she would say - it was so lovely last week and in about a fortnight there will be such a lot out, but I'm afraid you have just come at the wrong time. Going up the coast of Norway I saw thousands of Little Auks, but ne'er a puffin.
Continue to see the world until I am too decrepit to travel abroad. My heroine in that respect is Penelope Chetwynd, the wife of John Betjamen, who used to take people across India looking at the temples, which she loved fiercely. She finally died in the middle of one of her tours - the travellers went into the temple, she sat down on the steps outside to admire the view and when they came out she was dead.
I honestly cannot think of anything else I really want to do, except to live my life to the full until the last possible moment. When my decade is up I shall review the situation again but I can't think it will have changed much - I just want to LIVE, so I'll let the poet Edwin Morgan have the last word. In his marvellous poem "Epilogue: Seven Decades" he ends by saying,
No candle-light please, keep that for Europe.
Switch the whole thing right on.
When I go I want it bright,
I want to catch whatever is there
in full sight.

45 comments:

Heather said...

I had just put my comment on your previous post, when up popped this one. I feel much as you do - yes it would be good to get the better of this darned contraption instead of the other way round, but apart from visiting one or two places there isn't anything I crave to do. That either means I am very lucky or just bone idle!!

Leenie said...
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Leenie said...
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Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Weaver I could name a thousand things I would love to do. Your post has made my day. today though I'll achieve saying Hi to you instead.

Take care
Liz

willow said...

I totally agree with Mr. Morgan...and you, of course!

Arija said...

I,m so lucky to have the Prof handy who was the only one of his generation to go with the flow and recognized the importance of keeping up with modern technology and grappled with the new inventions as they arose, me, I only picked up a few things when my daughter got be blogging. Luckily she can sort out little things like cutting and pasting links for me. I don't want to master the whole thing, just the bits I need for what I want to do.
If it is given to me to finish this decade I would dearly like to wisit the places that t is possible for me to visit without flying which puts me into heart failure. Tasmania, New Zealand with itd beautiful scenery and rose and paeony gardens and the beauties of this vast vontinent of ours. I too am happy with what I have but there is one thing I really would like to accomplish...mastery of myself to make me a bettter person.

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm with you, Weaver. Happy and content. I wrote a book, self-published, and I'm happy.

jinksy said...

Good luck with the puffins -as well as the computer! x

Mistlethrush said...

Good luck with the list - and keep it growing.

I like lists - they're a great way of motivating myself and keeping me doing new things.I've almost got 50 things on my list now - so I'd better be quick!

BT said...

What an interesting post Weaver. I think I probably have lots to do, but mastering the computer is definitely one of mine too. Your blog is much more complicated than mine, so you must be quite good!!
Oh and seeing a Puffin!

Woman in a Window said...

I'm not sure what your title was referring to...before the next decade perhaps. Not the O I thought you might be referring to uh, em.

Keep on trucking, woman. And always keep something for tomorrow!

Now that I think of it a big O might just be the thing to look forward to. (Ok, enough raunch!)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I would like to see the Northern Lights and the Grizzly Bears at Denali.

20th Century Woman said...

Since you got this idea from someone else, who got it from someone else, could I pinch it from you? Like you, I'm happy with my life as it is, but there are a few things -- it might be fun to write about them. I'm old enough not to frame it by a decade, but just before I leave this world. Lovely post.

patteran said...

Ambitions both modest and realistic, Pat, and in keeping with your satisfaction with things present and in place. Good old Edwin Morgan - still not fully recognised as one of the greats.

Eleanor said...

I have just discovered the 'view from your window' via Raph of Raph's Ramblings and I am glad I did. Now I wish I was making a 'to do before 50' list. My decade ends in 2011 with the advent of the big 6-0! I liked the comment about Penelope Chetwynd who loved India fiercely. I am from South Africa and I love this complex, exciting and sometimes tragic country fiercely too!

Dominic Rivron said...

I think I saw puffins on a boat trip round the Farne Islands - so you don't have to go far to see one.

Not sure if I measure life in decades or not. I'm astonished (and pleased) how long they seem to last. They don't seem to fly by to me these days.

Red Clover said...

What is on that list for me? I have four years left in this decade of mine...until 30, I know, a babe in arms still, right? I have actually felt like I have been everywhere i was supposed to be, and so I feel the same way you do, contented with my current life, and yet ready to continue exploding into possibilities. I have done quite a bit, and am ready to keep going until the ripe old age of ninety three...if I want to live that long. May you see the most delightful puffins!

greg rappleye said...

Puffins!

Yes. I have wanted to see puffins since I read all those Enid Blyton mysteries when I was a kid. Was it the Famous Five or the Secret Seven who had the cool pet puffin?

Famous Five, I think.

So, puffins and a twelver of ginger beer for me.

Coastcard said...

I was so disappointed only to see one puffin through a strong telescope, lent by a keen birder, on my first visit to Bempton Cliffs near Flamborough Head, that we went back again last year ... and REALLY saw puffins. They are truly delightful to watch, and every bit as cute as we imagine them to be! I hope I may see puffins here in Wales, one day; but many of the boats to the small islands are not easy for folk like me with metal joints to access!

Dave King said...

That is so reassuring, to find someone in this day and age who is that content with life as it is. I haven't given much thought to the subject; there are places I would like to see, a few ideas I would like to work up (paintings and writings), but that's about it. What I would like, though, is to die like Penelope Chetwynd, which I guess is selfish, because it woudn't have been that great for her friends.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

You do seem to be a contented soul, which is to be admired.

I think I'd prefer to mark my life in half decades, if anything. But I don't have a list that I'm working through. Perhaps one shouldn't to avoid disappointment but then, we ought to have dreams.

Leenie said...

Happy Birthday, Weaver!

The Weaver of Grass said...

No Heather - no-one who blogs is bone idle!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mad Bush - hope you get all those thousand things done. (before it is too late)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mad Bush - hope you get all those thousand things done. (before it is too late)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mad Bush - hope you get all those thousand things done. (before it is too late)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Do you know the poem, willow? It is all wonderful, not just the last few lines.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree Arija - mastery of oneself is a marvellous aim - I think I achieve it sometimes - but it needs working at.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jinksy and Jenn - you both sound pretty contented to me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mistlethrush - I am a great list-maker - I have been known to make a list of jobs to be done and add some already done that day just so that I can cross them off. That's a bit mad really - tantamount to keeping a tin for bits of string too short to be of any use.

The Weaver of Grass said...

BT - I don't think my blog is complicated at all. If anything goes wrong I e mail my son, who has my password, so he can put it right!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I intend to keep on trucking to the last, woman in a window - and I think we will draw a veil over the big O you mention.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela - I could have added Northern Lights had I thought of it. Sometimes they are visible here in the right conditions - I would love to see them. As for Grizzlies - I have seen them in so many nature programmes that I am not sure I want to see them in real life - have seen plenty of black bears in the Rockies - that will do.

The Weaver of Grass said...

20th century woman - I look forward to reading your list.

The Weaver of Grass said...

20th century woman - tried to visit you in return but could not get past your dashboard.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dick - glad you too like Edwin Morgan's poetry - I agree he has not had the publicity he deserves.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment Eleanor (happens to be my favourite name) - shall visit you now.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dominic - you wait! Time flies faster the older you get. (and if you are having fun)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks red clover - may you live to be at least 93 - there is a lady in our village who will be 103 on Sunday and she still comes to village functions smartly dressed and made up and still lives alone!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Would that we could go back to those days Greg!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am ashamed to say Coastcard, that I have not yet been to Bempton Cliffs although we live a lot nearer to them than you do.
Puffins in Wales - not sure I like the idea of bobbing about on a little boat.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am ashamed to say Coastcard, that I have not yet been to Bempton Cliffs although we live a lot nearer to them than you do.
Puffins in Wales - not sure I like the idea of bobbing about on a little boat.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave - thanks for the comment. I too would like to end like Penelope - and I wouldn't worry too much about those I leave behind/ Once the shock had gone then I am sure they would be glad that the end had been so good.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dreams are vital, Derrick. I think the secret is always to have something to look forward to, however small an event that may be.

Janice Thomson said...

I too am happy and contented. I look forward to what each day brings - the challenges, the crisis, the good times and find that is more than enough to keep me busy. I paint, write poetry and study nature. Beyond that I have no desires. Some would call that boring but all are individuals and have different needs.